Sunday June 7, 2015
My grill has been a little finicky the past couple of months: one of the burners won’t ignite. I put cleaning on hold while we went on vacation and apparently the grill fairies didn’t work on it while we were gone. I took it apart, pulling the manifold out and making sure everything was nice and clean – still no luck. The ignitor sparked but wouldn’t ignite the gas in the tube. I could light the tube manually with a lighter, but who wants to do that? The good news is I have a Weber and after a couple of phone calls with them they sent me out a new manifold. It would take at least a week for it to show up and I wanted to grill something anyway. I figured one burner wouldn’t stop me, especially if I picked something calling for two zone heating.
Then I read Mike Vrobel’s Dad Cooks Dinner post on barbecued chicken thighs. I love chicken thighs and I love Mike so I found my solution for dinner. For details on his recipe please go to his site linked above. He included a link to his simple barbecue sauce and used a simple rub. So I was all in.
What a simple sauce – only six ingredients. I imagine most pantries have these six items
Mike does this as a no-cook sauce. I decided to help the ingredients mix together by simmering on a super low flame for about 15 minutes – stirring every so often. It is a nice sauce with some sweetness and sharpness from the apple cider vinegar and just a little heat from the hot sauce.
While that was on the stove, I turned to the rub. Another easy recipe with just eight ingredients.
I put the rub on the chicken and let it sit for a bit.
I’d also been reading a barbecued chicken recipe in Cook’s Country from which I borrowed an idea. Now I’m sure that Cook’s Country recipe is awesome, they use a method similar to Myron Mixon – barbecue personality and champion. But that was way too much work for a Sunday afternoon. The tip I did take was to rub the chicken and let it sit for a while at room temperature; I did 30 minutes.
Now, I love cooked chicken, but can get a little grossed out by the raw pieces. I work real hard to thoroughly clean anything that came close to the raw ickiness. I figured out that using a disposable aluminum pan instead of a baking half sheet and rack would save some cleaning! I also use nitrile gloves when I’m handling raw chicken. They are great for applying rub: most of the rub goes where it belongs – on the chicken – rather than where it doesn’t – stuck to my fingers.
I’d also read a recipe in the June/July 2015 edition of Cook’s Country on grilling corn on the cob. they use a two step process of grilling it in the husk, then buttering and seasoning it then putting it back on the grill to char. So, yeah, I did that. And bonus! The corn goes on the hot side of a two zone grill.
The chicken goes on the cooler side of the grill (I did skin side up) with no sauce for 30 minutes. This should let it get up to 175˚ – or close. Then sauce and flip every 5 minutes for another 15 minutes. I moved the thighs around a bit when I flipped moving front to back and side to side.
After that first 1/2 hour put on the corn – which you cut the tips off and pulled off some of the silks.
I had a foil pack of pellets to provide some smoke and it caught fire, lighting up a couple of the husks – not pretty but the corn was safe in side. I don’t think I’ll use pellets again – I’ll go with the traditional wood chips that have been soaked for 30 minutes or so.
I also screwed things up a bit. I took the chickens’ temperature after the 30 minutes and they had reached 175˚ but I guess I forgot. I had the lid open too long messing around taking pictures and the chicken temperature dropped so I made the mistake of putting the thighs skin side down on the direct heat side of the grill. Beginner’s mistake. The sugar in the sauce burned the skin. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I should have trusted myself. Then again, as Alton Brown would say, undercooked chicken is not good eats. By the way I cheated on my chicken pictures, photographing the back side which wasn’t burned.
While the chicken rested, I chopped the other end off the corn and removed the husks; the rest of the silks came off very easily. I rubbed them in a mixture of softened butter, salt and pepper and put them back on the grill for a few minutes.
We were ready to eat.
Dinner is served. We figured corn was enough vegetable so didn’t make a salad. It looks a little bare on the plate, but it was delicious.
So, this is a good technique for chicken. A 450˚ grill with fire on one side and chicken on the other. Roast for 30 minutes, then brush on your favorite sauce and flip a couple of times. Just make sure you have your chicken at 175˚ somewhere along the way and stay away from the hot part of the grill – especially when the sauce is on.